Here is some detailed info from the Criterion blog:
| ...We’re nine years into the DVD market, and there are still hundreds of important films that can only be seen in old VHS versions or, if you’re lucky enough to live in a town with a good repertory theater, a new print might come around once every ten years or so. |
We want those films to be more readily available, and that’s why we’re creating Eclipse. Each month we’ll present a short series, usually three to five films, focusing on a particular director or theme. There will be no supplements and the master materials will be the best we can find, but they won’t be full Criterion restorations. Retail pricing for each set will average under $15 per disc, and we are examining the logistics of making the sets available at an even more favorable rate on a subscriber or club basis. The goal here is to make these films available, to make sure that Criterion’s own work style doesn’t contribute to the continuing unavailability of these films. Once our producers and restoration crew get started on a Criterion edition, the project takes on a life of its own. Months later, with a little luck, we’ll have something really special to show for it, but at that rate we can’t make a dent in the number of important unreleased films that we’d like people to be able to see.
The early films of Ingmar Bergman, the documentaries of Louis Malle—these are extraordinary and important films that are very hard to find outside the revival-house circuit. At the moment you’ll find more Mizoguchis in theaters (thanks to a traveling retrospective) than in the video store, and that’s certainly also true for Naruse, Ozu, and Imamura. While Criterion is working on new special editions of individual pictures by all of these filmmakers, at a rate of maybe one or two a year, we’ll never be able to represent the breadth of their bodies of work. Eclipse will help to fill that gap.